Yesterday, I had the time of my life! My family came over and we had so much fun dancing and partying! Friends came and went all morning exchanging mishloach manot (gift baskets). The costumes this year were better than ever... so many of our friends dressed up the whole family with themes. I sure have some creative friends!
This morning, I received an e mail letter from Meuhedet (healthcare provider), letting me know that the drug, Gemcitabine, has been ordered and approved. "We are happy to let you know that your doctor ordered bla bla bla... and it's been approved bla bla bla... best wishes and blessings for a full recovery and good long life.... Blessings, Meuhedet". Is that only in Israel? I thought the wording of the letter was cool.
I'm restarting chemo tomorrow with a slightly different schedule... using the same platinum based, Carboplatin, along with Gemcitabine (Gemzar is the known brand name). The schedule is Carbo every 3 weeks and the Gemcitabine 2 weeks on 1 week off.
Gemcitabine is supposed to have less harsh side effects than Taxol... here's the list:
- Flu-like symptoms such as muscle pain, fever, headache, chills, and fatigue
- Fever (within 6–12 hours of first dose)
- Nausea (mild)
- Poor appetite
- Skin rash
- Allergic reaction
- Hair loss
- Mouth sores
- Difficulty sleeping
- Shortness of breath
Last time, I knew the timeline. 6 courses (which became weekly dose-dense mid-treatment). Five months and then we're done! THIS time it's open-ended. We're doing a certain number of chemo treatments and then a PET CT to check if it's working to shrink the tumors.
Last week, I had a "procedure" to have a port "installed". So now I have a button to go along with my zipper (that's what I call the ovarian cancer surgical scar that extends from sternum all the way down). The port will make drawing blood and receiving chemo much easier. Getting the port-a-cath was not so easy. My intention isn't to whine and complain however if anyone reading this can be helped... that is my intention. I don't know if I'm just a big baby or if I overly attached myself to what many tried to convince me was "nothing". "It's such an easy procedure you don't even need sedation." "It's nothing." "Piece of cake." Well, only second to having 4 syringes of fluid removed from my pelvis WITHOUT any pain medication... it was the most traumatic experience of my life. Just one day before, I had a sigmoidoscopy and biopsies taken - no problem - no trauma whatsoever. The key... sedation. Even though I was awake and I remember everything said and done, I was relaxed, not scared and fully functional. Lying on a surgical table in a freezing cold operating room with sterile sheets draped over my body and face, strapped down, my body began to shake violently. I felt the repetitive jabs of the local anaesthesia needle going into my chest and I realized I was going to freak out! I let everyone present know that... and was told that the sedation drugs aren't recommended because they're "poisonous" to my body. Really? As opposed to the herbal chemotherapy I'm about to receive??? I see no reason for any person in the Western World to have to go through that. I hereby SWEAR (with all of you as my witnesses) that no syringe or knife wielding person will EVER touch my body EVER again without my permission unless they've offered me sedation. I eventually convinced them, after the first incision, that they weren't going to complete the procedure without calming me down first but not before a meltdown complete with sobbing and tears. Sedation might make you sleepy, forgetful, whatever... that works for me. It's so much better than traumatic memories which NEVER go away. ...and that's my message for today. MY body. MY decision.
See you tomorrow.... at chemo.